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Hacienda Sonora is a family farm located in the Central Valley of Costa Rica at the foot of the Poas Volcano in Carrillo, Alajuela. Diego is the fifth generation of coffee producers in his family. The farm’s area is approximately 100 hectares, with 55 hectares of shaded coffee, 35 hectares of wild forest reserve, and 10 hectares of sugarcane. Coffee on Hacienda Sonora grows in an environment surrounded by diverse trees and other vegetation, providing excellent conditions for quality production and improving the chemistry of the already naturally rich volcanic soil. Thanks to the farm’s diverse ecosystem, many different species of birds and animals call the farm their natural habitat.
The farm’s micromill is at the heart of Hacienda Sonora next to a 150-year-old, fully-preserved traditional sugarcane press called a trapiche. All coffee from Sonora is processed using Honey or Natural methods to both obtain distinct sweetness in the cup and enhance the fruit notes that compliment the body of the cup profiles resulting from the different varieties grown on the farm.
Through the farm’s many generations of operation, proper care for the environment has been of major importance. Employing only Natural and Honey processing methods eliminates water usage and saves three gallons of water per pound of coffee that would have been used in Washed processing. 100% of the power consumed by the farm is generated from renewable energy sources on the property. Sustainable power is harvested from a natural freshwater stream with a special turbine known as a Pelton Wheel. This energy supplies power to the coffee mill and generates a portion of free electricity for workers living on the farm.
Hacienda Sonora provides free accommodations, including most household utilities, for each worker and their families in the farm’s houses. All employees enjoy the full benefits of the Costa Rica health insurance system. Producer Diego Guardia and his father Alberto hold Hacienda Sonora to high standards of social and environmental responsibility as well as to the production of high-quality coffee.
Ally’s Microlot Selection
Bram is Ally’s buyer for Central America and his office is located near the CECA quality control office and lab where Diego works, only about five minutes away by bicycle. Sonora organizes their harvest by day-lot selection and Bram cups regularly throughout the harvest to find the perfect profiles. Once he selects the lots, those day-lots retain their traceability throughout the rest of their processing and shipment prep.
Sonora keeps careful logs of harvest volumes, which sections of the farm they come from, and the drying times for each lot. Planning, organization, and annual adjustments are part of the team’s standard order of operations. Their record keeping and communication provide full harvest and processing traceability to record all the details of each lot’s journey from the trees to the jute sack sewn shut for export.
More stories and photos from Hacienda Sonora.